The genetic resources vital to Finnish agriculture and forestry have adapted to the local environmental conditions over thousands of years, making them unique. The conservation of genetic resources ensures that farmers, the processing industry and researchers have access to diverse resources now and in the future. Agricultural genetic resources – species of crops and domestic animals – form the foundation of our food security. Finnish crops are stored as seed material in the Nordic Genetic Resource Center (NordGen) or as live plants in national collections. The genetic diversity of wild forest trees and fish is a precondition for their viability and use.
The conservation and sustainable use of genetic resources and access to the resources are governed by Finland’s National Plant and Animal Genetic Resources Programmes that are based on the Convention on Biological Diversity (1993), the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (2004) and the Nagoya Protocol (2010). The National Advisory Board for Genetic Resources, established by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, monitors and develops the genetic resources programmes and the Natural Resources Institute Finland is responsible for coordinating the programmes.
In addition to the genetic diversity of farmed flora and fauna, agrobiodiversity also comprises the biological diversity of the related natural biota. This includes, for example, the species diversity of the bumble bee community and the ecosystem diversity of the field margin network. Agrobiodiversity forms the basis of the ecosystem services maintaining production in agriculture, forestry and fisheries, such as pollination and nutrient cycles. Thus, agrobiodiversity maintains the vitality and productivity of agricultural production environments, such as arable land and forests.
Conservation of forest genetic resources
NordGen – the Nordic Genetic Resource Center
Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture
The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture
The Nagoya Protocol